Spanish Scholars & Academics commend initiative
Abu Dhabi, June 22, 2014 – Spanish academics and scholars praised Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s initiative to accept literary works in Spanish for the “Arabic Culture in Other Languages” category in its ninth session of 2014/2015, as a step towards reinforcement of the Arab-Hispanic ties and the promotion of Arabic cultural and literary studies in countries with Spanish-speaking populations across the globe. The category is devised to honor all written works in non-Arab languages about the Arabic civilization and culture.
Professor Pedro Montavez, the renowned Spanish Arabist, scholar, translator and author, and Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s winner of the Cultural Personality of the Year Category in 2009, commended the Award’s decision, stating that it serves a pressing cultural requisite and it will see positive reactions throughout the Hispanic literary communities “Spanish is the second most used language throughout the majority of the Latin American countries, and it is still growing as a foreign language across the globe.” Professor Montavez added.
Besides Spanish, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award will accept works in English and Japanese for the ninth session. The door for nominations for this cycle will extend until 1st of September 2014.
Reflecting on the news, Edwardo Busquets, Ambassador at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of “Casa Arabe” [Spanish for The Arabic House] a Spanish public consortium headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, commented: “Casa Arabe is looking forward to cooperating with Sheikh Zayed book Award, an internationally celebrated Award, as it opens massive opportunities for Spanish researchers and creative writers to showcase their work on Arabic culture in Spanish which reaches a wide base of audiences worldwide.”
Since 2006, Casa Árabe has been operating as a focal center for Spain’s relations with the Arab world, specifically in terms of promoting economic relations, spreading knowledge, channeling inter-cultural dialogue. It is considered a meeting point where different stakeholders and institutions, both private and public, from the sectors of academia, economy, politics and culture can interact and establish lines of cooperation.
From his side, Mr. Saeed Hamdan, Manager of Sheikh Zayed Book Award pointed out that the Award accept works in a selection of language for each session in addition to English which is the standard language of works accepted for all sessions in this category. “The Arabic and Spanish languages share a common history since the age of the Islamic Empire in Andalusia, which harbored many tribes, religions, and races that coexisted in and contributed to its intellectual prosperity, whether it is in philosophy, sciences and arts. And so we are delighted to welcome nominations in Spanish for this session to further enrich the creative works accepted for this category”, Hamdan added.
Since the establishment of the “Arabic Culture in Other Languages” category, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award has accepted works of exceptional writers, intellectuals and orientalists in English, Russian, Italian, Chinese and German and named Mario Leverani from Italy, Marina Warner from UK winners of the category in 2014 and 2013 respectively. The Award has also named a number of internationally renowned cultural figures winners of the cultural personality of the year award including Spanish Professor Pedro Martinez Montavez, Chinese Orientalist Xhong Jikun and Professor Denys Johnson Davies.